While Marvel was undoubtedly the show to see at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend, the annual fan convention also featured non-Disney studios unveiling many big reveals from the famed Hall H stage. Here’s a roundup of the best and most important trailers from Comic-Con that aren’t Wakanda Forever.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Nearly 50 years after the role-playing game first debuted, D&D has been experiencing a resurgence, as seen in YouTube series like Critical Role, and Stranger Things’ co-opting of its mythology for its own narrative. So, of course we’re getting a movie: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. The film’s stacked cast includes Chris “The Best Chris” Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, and Hugh Grant (!). It might feel easy to write this one off as just another inevitability of the fantasy IP arms race, but the creative team behind it—Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley—directed Game Night, which is sneakily one of the best studio comedies of the last decade. In the tradition of the duo’s comedies (they also co-wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming and Horrible Bosses), this trailer points to a light, banter-y take on the mythology: D&D could be aiming to be the Marvel of fantasy, to LOTR and Game of Throne’s more earnest, dark DC.
The Lord of the Ring: The Rings of Power
Arriving about a week after the initial trailer, the latest bit of footage for Amazon’s Rings of Power provides slightly more clarity around Middle Earth’s second age—and continues to flex the production’s insane production budget. Amazon also confirmed the appearance of
Eminem Anson Boon’s Sauron—or at least a version of Middle Earth’s greatest foe. Sauron can shapeshift, so audiences may see a few different actors take up the mantle across Rings of Power’s five planned seasons.
John Wick 4
Out of the two big Keanu fourquels in recent years, who would have ever thought a fourth John Wick would be a better bet for critical and audience acclaim than a fourth Matrix? Compare the iffy reaction to last winter’s Matrix: Resurrections to this trailer, though and it’s pretty safe to already declare a winner. The brief teaser for the Keanu Reeves action epic previews plenty of thrilling set pieces and a lot of looks at legendary martial artist/kung-fu master Donnie Yen, who you may know from Ip Man and Rogue One. Also joining the cast are Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai) and Bill Skarsgård (It) for what looks to be Wick’s biggest battle yet.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods
The first Shazam! movie was a pleasant surprise in the otherwise much-maligned DC Extended Universe, with some wholesome kid antics mixed with genuinely thrilling action, and an endearing turn from Zachary Levi. The follow-up doubles down on that goodwill with the addition of Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and West Side Story breakout Rachel Zegler as the new villains.
The Comic-Con footage for Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam, the DCEU’s attempt to grab a piece of the anti-hero market (a la Venom), shows off a bit more of the Justice Society’s powers, including that of Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Hawkman (Aldis Hodge). Considering this trailer is basically just resequenced footage from previously released clips, it seems as if Warner Bros. is holding back many of the film’s surprises for the actual release: —perhaps a Shazam! Crossover, as the two characters have beef in the comics?
Netflix is going all-in on a splashy adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, which is up there with Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns as one of the most important and influential comic book series of all time. Based on visuals alone, the series looks to have nailed the graphic novel’s distinct mystical, dream-like look and feel of the Gaiman series (by, in some cases, reverently re-creating panel references), and it features an impressive cast that includes Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christine, Boyd Holbrook, Jenna Coleman, David Thewlis, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Patton Oswalt, and Mark Hamill. Much of the success or failure of the series will lie in how the show adapts the events of the comic, so mark us as cautiously optimistic for now.